January was named after Janus – the two-headed god – because it looks both backwards and forwards. In other words, January is a time of evaluating what is past and planning for the future. That is why we tend to make “New Year’s Resolutions.”
According to Proactive Mindfulness, 40% to 45% of adults make new year’s resolution, but according to the University of Bristol 88% of those who make resolutions fail. They are not kept, followed through, or further engaged. Why? That is a good question for the psychologists. So, being something of a wordsmith, I decided to stop calling these future failures resolutions. “I resolve to …” sounds both scary and presumptuous. I call them determinations.
What can we determine?
Goals must be smart – or more correctly S.M.A.R.T. SMART is an acronym for the 5 elements of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals.
If I want better grades, then I need to state my goals in SMART terms. I must ask, “Is it specific?” Well, saying “better grades” is not, but saying that “I want to earn an A” is. Because grades are measurable, we can check that box. As to whether it is achievable, only the person setting the goal can know, but I think that it is. Is it relevant? Or Does it matter now? That is easy to answer: YES! It is also time based whether the plan is to record the achievement at the first grading period or at the semester, it can be done.
Thus, grades are SMART.
The other predominant goals for most people are weight loss and physical fitness. Using the standard delineated above, everyone now knows how to succeed: make it SMART. Do not say: I am going to get into better shape, but rather specify the shape. Trapezoidal is not recommended.
Bottom line: set goals, make plans, aim high. Be bold, ambitious. Why not?
Even failure in setting out to attain a great thing will yield better results than to have never made the attempt. Michelangelo said that we do not fail by aiming to high and missing, but by aiming too low and hitting. Aim high! Good luck!